Rejecting Step Six

COMMUNITY-DRIVEN CLUB: West Wratting said they have faced opposition from the village over developing the facilities and are happy to listen to what the community want  Picture: Mark BullimoreY
COMMUNITY-DRIVEN CLUB: West Wratting said they have faced opposition from the village over developing the facilities and are happy to listen to what the community want Picture: Mark BullimoreY

Both West Wratting and Linton Granta have rejected an opportunity to join a new Thurlow Nunn League division next season, despite it representing a move up the National League Structure.

The news follows last week’s revelation by chairman Peter Hutchings that teams at Step 7 in the local area had been invited to apply for entry to a new Step 6 league.

HAPPY WHERE THEY ARE: Michael Bavester confirmed West Wratting have not applied to move to the new Step 6 league  Picture: Mark Bullimore

HAPPY WHERE THEY ARE: Michael Bavester confirmed West Wratting have not applied to move to the new Step 6 league Picture: Mark Bullimore

The new division, to be governed by the Thurlow Nunn League, will be created from the split of the First Division into a North and South region.

Each league will contain at least 16 teams, with clubs in the likes of the Kershaw Premier Division, Suffolk & Ipswich League Premier Division, Anglian Combination Premier Division and the Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division all given the opportunity to apply to make the jump from Step 7 to 6.

Interested clubs would need to meet a basic ground grading requirement by May 31, though these, according to Hutchings, are ‘quite light’.

Clubs would then be given until 2020 to bring their facilities up to scratch, with a need for floodlights among the demands.

But, despite Hutchings confirming that 22 clubs had made their interest known, including fellow Kershaw side Lakenheath, neither Linton nor West Wratts feel it is in their best interests.

Both managers expressed support for the Cambridgeshire County League, sponsored by Kershaw, as they questioned if the ‘level up is actually any better’ for the quality of football on offer.

West Wratting said they had spoken to the FA about the possibility but local opposition to a development of their ground played a part in their decision not to apply.

Manager Michael Bavester said: “There are a lot of reasons behind our decision not to pursue promotion this season. One of the big ones is that we are not sure as a club that the level above is actually any better.

“We are more than happy to stay where we are. We are a village club and we have to listen to what the parish council want from us as well.

“Floodlights and traffic increases are not what’s wanted.

“And a move to a Thurlow Nunn team would also come with big demands on our finances; it’s basically all the cost with none of the rewards.”

Linton Granta manager Lee Miller was adamant the club were making the ‘right call’ as he revealed a target of winning the Kershaw League next season.

He said: “We think the First Division is played at a lower standard than us. We believe we are already in the best place and our past results show this. We’ve played teams in the Premier Division and beaten them so we are just not interested.”